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helpyourself2If you’ve been feeling down and less than positive about your life, there is a way that you can help yourself by simply serving those in need around you. The most selfless act you can do in your life is finding a way to help others. You may be saying, isn’t there an ulterior motive if I’m doing it to help myself? In the beginning, maybe, but understand that in this life you can not truly grow without helping those around you grow. In every generation, many have found their greatest personal reward by using their innate talents to impact the lives of others in a positive way.  

Don’t think that you have nothing to offer because we all do, help can take many forms.  It can be the teacher who opens the door to a lifelong dream or career to her students.  It can be the volunteer worker who provides meals to the homeless or financial aid to the poor.  The possibilities are almost endless.  You are sure to find a need in your community which you can fulfill, and which will bring you true inner rewards. 

A place many people look to volunteer is with those who are dependent and often helpless.  Children need mentoring by patient, helpful adults.  Seeing their growth and development becomes a reward for you.  Knowing that you are helping to form a constructive, positive child in out society can lift your spirits now matter how down you may be feeling about your own life. 

The elderly is another group that often needs help from volunteer workers.  This may be as simple as an hour of companionship each day, helping with their shopping needs, or maybe you’re good with your hands; a skilled laborer is a precious commodity for the elderly.

Another place to do volunteer work is with animals and abandoned pets.  The local animal rescue is always looking for volunteers to care for its animals.  You may also find an opportunity to care for injured wild animals, nursing them back to health.  If you’re an animal lover, what a reward it would be to see a baby eagle with a broken wing be able to fly again and live because you have nurtured it! 

When talking with neighbors or friends, be aware of the needs they may have but are hesitant to ask for help with.  Offer help if it is something you can do.  If not, try to find someone else who can do it.  Be sensitive to peoples’ pride.  Dependency is intimidating.  So try to make the person feel at ease about receiving help. 

It is said that “Charity begins at home”.  Don’t forget your own family’s needs.  It is sometimes hard for parents to ask their grown children for help.  But you know how much they did for you when you were a child and dependent upon them.  Try to be aware of their needs and the tasks they are no longer able to do as they age.  You don’t want them going up on the roof themselves to fix a leak! 

Educate your own children about helping others.  Make it a family event to help cook and serve a Thanksgiving dinner for the poor, for instance.  Groups like the Salvation Army or the Red Cross can always use volunteer help.  You may be surprised at how much your children will enjoy the experience.  You may plant the seed of a lifelong enjoyment of reaching out to those in need.  It may even lead them to a career, such as a social worker or school guidance counselor. 

Taking the time to help others has many rewards; being a witness to someone becoming better off and feeling their gratitude is an awesome yet humbling experience that not only serves them, but helps you put your own life in perspective, and makes you grateful for what you have as well.